Georgia Tech Golf Rises to 3rd at Valspar Invitational
Strafaci tied for fifth, Yellow Jackets shave 20 strokes off opening-round score
Palm City, Fla. - Freshmen Luke Schniederjans and Tyler Strafaci paced Georgia Tech Monday by firing rounds of 69 (-2), and the 27th-ranked Yellow Jackets trimmed 20 shots off their opening round score, rising into a tie for third after 36 holes at the Valspar Collegiate Invitational at The Floridian National Golf Club.
TECH LINEUP – Starting on the more difficult back nine Monday, the Yellow Jackets struggled and lost five shots to par, but made plenty of hay coming home, playing the front side in 8-under-par to finish with a 3-under-par round of 281.
Schniederjans (Powder Springs, Ga.) bounced back from an opening 78 to birdie four of five holes down the stretch of the front nine in posting his 69. Strafaci (Davie, Fla.), who led the Jackets Sunday with a 73, bogeyed three of his first four holes Monday but played 5-under the rest of the way to match Schniederjans’ score, and is tied for fifth individually at even-par 142.
Junior James Clark (Columbus, Ga.) recovered from his opening 77 to shoot 70 Monday, and freshman Andy Ogletree (Little Rock, Miss.) added a 73 to the Yellow Jackets’ total. Senior Vincent Whaley (McKinney, Texas) did not count for Tech Monday after posting an 80.
TEAM LEADERBOARD – No. 10 Wake Forest and No. 3 Oklahoma State were the only teams to beat Tech’s round Monday, each posting a 4-under-par score of 280. The Demon Deacons took the 36-hole lead at 3-over-par 571 and opened a nine-stroke lead on Houston (580, +12). The Cowboys and the Yellow Jackets are tied for third place at 582 (+14).
First-round leader Texas A&M, ranked 14th in the nation, shot 295 and fell back to fifth place at 583 (+15), while No. 12 LSU and North Texas are tied for sixth at 585 (+17).
Ten of the 14 teams in the field are ranked among the top 50 in the nation according to Golfstat.
INDIVIDUAL LEADERBOARD – Thomas Rosenmueller of North Texas shot an even-par 71 and moved into a share of the 36-hole lead with Wake Forest’s Eric Bae, who carded the day’s low round with a 67. They are both at 2-under-par 140.
The only two other players under par for 36 holes are Oklahoma State’s Kristoffer Ventura and South Carolina’s Scott Stevens at 1-under-par 141. Strafaci is tied for fifth at even-par 142 with the Demon Deacons’ Will Zalatoris and Minnesota’s Riley Johnson.
COACH Bruce Heppler SAYS – “We really finished well today. The last five holes on the front is a very good scoring part of the course. We entered that stretch plus-five and finished under par for the round. The guys did a good job of hanging until we got to that part of the course. We have a great opportunity tomorrow to be in the mix with some of the best teams in the country.”
TOURNAMENT INFORMATION – Georgia Tech is making its fourth appearance in the Valspar Invitational, which began three years ago and has become one of the spring’s premier events at one of Florida’s top golf venues. The 54-hole event continues concludes at 8 a.m. Tuesday with a split-tee start. It is played at the 7,114-yard, par 71 Floridian National Golf Club, part of The Floridian Resort and Spa.
Ten of the 14 teams competing at the 2017 Valspar Collegiate Invitational are ranked among the top 50 in the latest Golfstat national rankings with five listed among the top 25. The field includes No. 10 Wake Forest, No. 12 LSU, No. 14 Texas A&M, No. 18 Texas, No. 23 Arkansas, No. 27 Georgia Tech, No. 30 Florida State, No. 33 South Carolina, No. 49 Houston Memphis, Minnesota, North Texas and South Florida.
The Yellow Jackets finished 10th in last year’s Valspar event, posting a 21-over-par score of 871, after winning the inaugural event in 2014 (13-under-par 837). Ollie Schniederjans won medalist honors at the 2014 tournament.